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Church Stretton horror: Community in shock as mother arrested for son's murder

By Amy Downward | Church Stretton | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Tributes continue to pour in for "wonderful" seven-year-old Archie Spriggs, who was found dead this week.

Archie Spriggs, aged seven, and Lesley Speed, inset, who has been named locally as the murder suspect

A community has been left in shock after “wonderful” seven-year-old Archie Spriggs was found dead.

Tributes continue to be paid to Archie, who died at a house near Church Stretton on Thursday, while a woman believed to be his mother remains in custody on suspicion of murder.

Police and paramedics rushed to Rushbury Road, in the village of Wall Under Heywood, on Thursday evening in a desperate attempt to provide treatment for the youngster.

Despite their efforts Archie died at the house.

Neighbours said they often saw him playing out in the street and described him as “a friendly, lovely little boy”.

It is believed that Archie’s mother, named locally as Lesley Speed, 44, was also found at the house.

A police forensics tent was set up at the house in Wall Under Heywood near Church Stretton

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She remains in hospital receiving treatment for injuries to her neck and arm.

Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening although the emergency services said they had to administer “vital trauma care” after arriving at the property shortly after 6pm.

Yesterday morning police confirmed they had arrested a woman on suspicion of murder.

Ms Speed’s last Facebook update, posted last Friday, included a picture with the words: “The girl who seemed unbreakable, broke.

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“She dropped a fake smile and whispered to herself, I can’t do this anymore.”

Lesley Speed is believed to be aged 44. She was taken to hospital with ‘significant injuries’

Neighbours of the family were left struggling to come to terms with the death of a seven-year-old they had often seen playing in the area.

Catherine Griffiths, 59, who lives opposite the house where Archie was found, said the community was in disbelief, adding: “I was very shocked to hear what happened. The woman was very friendly and the little boy would often play in the area.

“It is shocking and awful.”

A service of reflection is to be held at St Peter's Church in Rushbury on Sunday, where candles will be lit in Archie's memory.

Map of the area:

Mayor of Church Stretton Michael Braid said his thoughts were with the family following the harrowing news, adding: “Any loss of a child is awful. It is a terrible thing.

“A lot of people in Church Stretton will be sending their prayers.

“It is a real shock for the community.”

Police were on the scene quickly and remained in place for hours

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, described the scene as it appeared on Thursday night.

She said: “It was chaos when the police began to arrive. They just kept coming and coming.

“There was an air ambulance that landed in the field at the back to take the mum away. They rushed her in fast.

“There were another three ambulances outside that I could count. I guess they couldn’t save the boy. It’s so sad."

It is believed that Ms Speed volunteers at a Hope House charity shop in Church Stretton.

Staff at the store were visibly upset by the “awful” news but the manager did not want to comment.

Neighbours living near the property described the scene saying they were shocked at the news

Meanwhile another neighbour said: “Lesley had recently changed her hairstyle and seemed very happy.

“I can’t imagine what’s happened.

“They were a nice family together. She had an older son, I think, who used to come by on his motorbike.

“You would see Leslie holding hands with her son and encouraging him to come inside for dinner when he was playing out.

“Sometimes he just wanted to stay out. The whole thing is terrible.”

A police car guarded the scene on Rushbury Road yesterday morning with police tape and a white forensics tent put up outside.

It is understood police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Forensics officers were working at the scene throughout Friday.

Anyone who has any information that could assist the investigation is asked to call 101 quoting incident 628 of September 21.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Amy Downward

By Amy Downward
@AmyD_star

Based at the head office in Ketley covering the north Shropshire area.

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